It is no surprise to anyone that teams in the LCS want to stay in the LCS. C9, TSM, CLG and TL are known by many as “The Cartel,” due to their exclusivity of other organizations and always seeking to benefit one another. This has been seen through their scrimmage history and roster swap history. One of the recent examples of these teams working together was TSM allowing Doublelift to contract with TL while TL was in danger of relegation. Doublelift brought a surge of morale and a much needed carry in the bot-lane, but many people felt that this was a way for TSM and TL to work together to keep TL in the LCS. This is not a particularly huge deal, and it makes sense that friends would like to work together, but some spectators find such collusion shady.
Most recently, TSM lost a match to TL. This was a huge upset due to the fact that TSM was undefeated in matches that went to three games, and TL was underperforming for weeks leading up to the match. Reddit has decided the match was a result of win-trading and that it is another instance of “The Cartel” working together.
The evidence against this is pretty substantial. First, win-trading is simply abhorrent and nobody would expect it to happen. TSM made a series of really bad plays, and even won the second game of the match. TSM even has a history of having great splits and losing to the bottom team, such as Pheonix1 being their only loss in the 2016 Summer Split. Lastly, if TSM won this match, they would have been guaranteed the first place bye in playoffs, putting them at quite a large advantage. We would like to think that TSM is above win-trading, but nobody but them know for sure.
The evidence in favor of win-trading exists as well, but is mostly speculation. First, TSM played uncharacteristically poorly and made a lot of really bad decisions, but that is not proof. In addition, Doublelift is a much better ADC than WildTurtle and destroyed him in lane every game, leading to a bot-lane carry. Lastly is the whole “Cartel” conspiracy theory. We cannot know for sure how deliberate this TSM loss was, but for the betterment of the integrity of the game, I would like to think they simply got outplayed, as unlikely as that may be.
For more information on the match, check the detailed match history and VoDs at lolesports.com